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Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale in American Son. Photo by Peter Cunningham

Kerry Washington Tackles Implicit Bias, Classism & Biracial Identity In “American Son”

She became a household name as political fixer Olivia Pope in “Scandal.”

But Kerry Washington shows off an entirely different dimension of her acting chops in the new play “American Son,” which opened this month at the Booth Theater in NYC.

Washington stuns in a vulnerable, visceral performance as Kendra, a mother and Harvard-educated psychologist who ends up in a Florida police station searching for her missing teenage son.

Instead of finding answers, she’s met with stonewalling from the police and has to confront the state of her relationship with her estranged white husband (Steven Pasquale), and the fact that her seemingly successful life isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale in American Son. Photo by Peter Cunningham

Directed by Kenny Leon, the 88-minute one-act play’s superb dialogue tackles issues like the divide between the black community and police, the erosion of families, biracial identity and classism.

BOSSIP recently attended a performance, and Washington delivered a nuanced portrayal of the tragic Kendra – a capturing both strength and frailty as her character hurtles through a night that changes her life forever. Even her appearance, gaunt, frazzled and on edge, speaks to her character’s unraveling in front of the audience.

The Bottom Line: We think that “American Son” will come home a winner come Tony Awards season time.

“American Son” is on Broadway from now through Jan. 27th at the Booth Theatre.


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